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Top Ten Whites of 2011

trophyTop Ten White Wines of 2011 this week. There will also be a Paula’s Top Ten Red Wine choices of 2011 and Top Ten Rosés but only the Top Five After Dinner Reds of 2011.

Because this year has seen a dearth of great tasting and great value wines that match the cheese and nuts course, and an even greater lack of sparkling wines that don’t bore the taste buds. But slurpable whites at a reasonable price there have been, in abundance - which made it very hard to knock the list back to just the top ten.

But here they are ranging in price from £3.99 to £11.99.

In ascending price:

20111

Villa Malizia Italian Pinot Grigio 2010

£3.99 Aldi

The attractive aromas of honey and melon entice you into the glass of this great value wine, and the flavours won’t disappoint either – light lemon and grapefruit. So light are the flavours and so fruity this could almost be a breakfast wine.

2

Co-op Argentine Fairtrade Pinot Grigio 2010

£5.99 Co-op

Another Pinot Grigio but from the Co-op this time and two pounds more, but the flavours of pear drops, apricot, banana, lemon and lime just keep on going.

Pennautier Viognier3

Pennautier French Viognier Pays D’Oc 2010

£7.25 Berry Bros and Rudd

Don’t be put off by the posh reputation of this wine retailer as they do have some reasonably priced wines that have exceedingly well-balanced flavours. And this is one of them. Flavours of nuts, butter, Cheshire cheese, apple and grilled pineapple all combine so nicely that you can quaff this with anything or nothing. A good Christmas lunch choice as everyone will like it.

4

Casillero de Diablo Chilean Chardonnay Reserva 2009

£7.49 Ocado

More grilled pineapple flavours, from a Chardonnay this time, plus loads more besides: peach, apricot, apple, melon and a raw vegetable/parsley thing going on in the background which adds body. Very complex and very good.

5

Yali Chilean Gewurztraminer Reserva 2010

£8.49 Majestic (or buy 2+ for £6.79)

You don’t have to go any further than the back label on the bottle to work out what this will be like: aromas and taste of rose, jasmine and lemon blossom. Very fresh and floral with a wonderful aroma and taste. Bargain.

6

Angel’s Reserve Argentinean Torrontes 2010

£8.99 Naked Wines

I tasted the 2010 version of this wine in August, which unfortunately sold out a week later. There is a 2011 version now available at the same price but customer reviews on the Naked Wines website is mixed. I’d take a chance though and bet the 2011 meets the fantastic aromas and flavours of the 2010: orange blossom, apricot, pear, peach and melon along with some coriander leaf and a bit of lemon. This wine is so rich and full in the mouth that it’s a red wine lovers white wine choice.

7

Cawte’s Cave New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2009, organic

£9.35 Vintage Roots

Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand are renowned for tasting of gooseberry, often excessively. But this is a very light gooseberry tasting version, with added melon and sweet apple – which is more akin to an English wine than an in your face New Zealand white. Good though.

8

Benjamin Darnault’s French Picoul de Pinet Dry 2010

£9.99 Naked Wines

This second choice from Naked Wines works as an everyday house wine as it will match almost any food. The flavours of pear, pineapple and crab apple with a honey edge are so balanced that everyone will like it, so another good choice for Christmas lunch.

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonay9

Errazuriz Chilean Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2009

£10.49 Co-op and £10.99 Majestic (buy 2+ for £8.79)

Tastes like a lemon cheesecake with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkle of hazelnuts. Nice.

10

Isla Negra Chilean High Tide Chardonnay 2009

£11.99 Your Favourite Wines

Isla Negra wines are often to be seen selling at half price, which makes this wine’s full price a bit steep at the moment. Perhaps a better choice for buying when the special offer comes around again, and it surely will. But its interesting aromas of lemon curd, pineapple and avocado and flavours of zingy lime and creamy mandarin make it a very quaffable choice.

So that’s seven grape varieties from six countries – something for every taste and everyone.

Cheers.